Remember Thelma and Louise? These two girls joined our urban farm in late September 2012. We purchased them from a local farmer as pullets about three months old. They are a Delaware-Buckeye hybrid, which should be an excellent egg layer and winter hardy.
It was our hope that these two would start laying eggs around Thanksgiving or Christmas, but the New Year has arrived and they are still unproductive. They are now fully mature and could be laying.
I've just learned that in order for a spring chick to begin laying in the same season that she's hatched, she must have an early start. Chicks hatched in March and April will certainly begin to lay in the late summer or fall, when daylight is still adequate to stimulate egg-laying hormones. But chicks hatched in mid to late summer won't mature until later in the fall and early winter, when daylight has become too short. (Note to self: order chicks for early delivery!)
After three months of feeding expensive organic chicken feed to unproductive birds, I'm reconsidering the all natural daylight approach to chicken keeping. These girls are working hens; I can't afford to keep chickens as pets. All they need to stay productive is more light. Stay tuned for the update.